The man accused in the death of Valeria and the microbus he was driving. The man accused in the death of Valeria and the microbus he was driving.

Girl’s rape, murder triggers transit probe

Victim's mother says police failed to act in time to prevent the crime

Authorities in the State of México municipality of Nezahualcóyotl are clamping down on public transportation companies and their drivers, after an 11-year-old girl was raped and murdered aboard a VW Kombi microbus last week.

Last Thursday, the girl’s father told his daughter Valeria to ride a microbus home while he pedaled his bicycle alongside the vehicle. He was concerned for her safety because falling rain would have made the bicycle trip dangerous.

But the driver of the microbus had other intentions. Once Valeria was inside, he accelerated and soon left her father behind.

Valeria’s body was found on Friday aboard the same microbus, which had been abandoned in the Benito Juárez neighborhood. She been sexually assaulted and killed.

The next day, a man identified only by his given name, José Octavio, was apprehended in connection with the crime and on Monday he was formally interned in a state penitentiary to await charges.

Meanwhile, Valeria’s mother has accused municipal authorities in Nezahualcóyotl and neighboring Mexico City of doing nothing in the first few minutes after her daughter was taken.

Jacqueline Ortiz says that after her husband advised her what was happening she used a panic button to contact police. An officer responded by telling Ortiz that her daughter had probably gone out with her boyfriend.

“There are [surveillance] cameras in the streets . . . in different sectors. That could have monitored [the zone], because the man never left this area. We could have found my daughter easily, but [the authorities] couldn’t be bothered.”

Further investigation into Valeria’s rape and murder found that the microbus in which she was attacked appeared to belong to Route 40 of the municipality’s public transportation network.

In order to determine whether the Route 40 fleet complies with state mobility and transportation bylaws, it it has been suspended indefinitely.

The suspension is part of a broader operation set in motion by the state Mobility Secretariat through which it intends to detect any anomalies in the licensed public transportation companies.

In the case of Valeria’s alleged attacker, the head of that agency said he had been driving the microbus for only four days, and that he was using a forged driver’s licence.

The operation has already sanctioned 48 units for different issues, including 11 assigned to Route 40.

Nezahualcóyotl Mayor Juan Hugo de la Rosa García said that starting this week safety measures have been reinforced in the municipality to guarantee safe travel for all public transportation users.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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